Oral history interview with James A. Redden

Identity elements

Reference code

SR 11149

Name and location of repository

Level of description



Oral history interview with James A. Redden


  • 2006-01-27 (Creation)


.1 cubic feet 2 videocassettes (1 hr., 8 min., 33 sec.) Mini-DV

Name of creator

Biographical history

James "Jim" Anthony Redden was born in 1929 and grew up in Massachusetts. In 1946, while he was in high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving two years as a medic stationed in Japan, where he saw firsthand the effects of the bombing of Hiroshima. In 1951, he married Joan Johnson. After earning a high school diploma, he attended Boston College and Boston College Law School, where he graduated with a law degree in 1954. He practiced law in Massachusetts for a year, then came to Portland, Oregon, where he worked for various insurance companies before moving to Medford, Oregon, to build his own law firm. He was a Democrat who represented the 19th District in the Oregon House of Representatives from 1962 to 1969, serving as minority leader from 1967 to 1969. From 1970 to 1972, he was chairman of the Public Employee Relations Board. From 1973 to 1976, he was state treasurer, and then attorney general from 1977 to 1980, before he was appointed to the U.S. District Court by President Jimmy Carter in 1980. He served as chief justice from 1990 to 1995, whereupon he took senior status.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

This oral history interview with James A. Redden was conducted by Michael O'Rourke in Redden's chambers at the U.S. District Court in Portland, Oregon, on January 27, 2006. In this interview, Redden discusses cases during his time as Oregon attorney general and as a U.S. District Court judge, including some involving treaties with Native Americans and fishing rights on the Columbia River, as well as the effects of the dams on salmon runs and other fisheries. He also discusses the history and impact of the U.S. District Court Historical Society; the war on terror, particularly the Patriot Act; and drug-related cases.

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

Joint copyright is held by the Oregon Historical Society and the U.S. District Court of Oregon Historical Society. In Copyright – Educational Use Permitted: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC-EDU/1.0/

Physical access

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

Languages of the material

  • English

Scripts of the material

Language and script notes

Finding aids

Acquisition and appraisal elements

Custodial history

Immediate source of acquisition

Gift of Donna Sinclair, January 2008 (Lib. Acc. 26436).

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information


Related materials elements

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related archival materials

Oral history interview with James A. Redden, SR 1245, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.

Related descriptions

Notes element

General note

Preferred citation: Oral history interview with James A. Redden, by Michael O'Rourke, SR 11149, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.

General note

Forms part of the United States District Court Oral History Project.

General note

Incomplete transcript (25 pages) available for in-person use in the OHS Research Library.

Specialized notes

Alternative identifier(s)

Description control element

Rules or conventions

Finding aid based on DACS (Describing Archives: A Content Standard), 2nd Edition.

Sources used

Archivist's note

Sarah Stroman

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Accession area